Case studies on integrating renewable resources.
Seth Parker, Jack Elder, and Boris Shapiro
Where wind integration has been most successful, state authorities developed and adopted basic transmission planning and cost allocation principles before FERC issued Order 1000. Experiences in Texas, California, and Hawaii demonstrate what it takes to overcome permitting and cost allocation barriers—namely, a coherent policy framework and close coordination among stakeholders.
Solar and wind developers learn to shift project risk to the grid.
As Google says, “the wind cries for transmission.” But the opposite is true as well: without new wind and solar energy projects, we would not need to build so many new transmission lines. Each side needs the other, yet neither dares declare too soon, and risk weakening its bargaining position. That is, until one utility in California found a way to break the impasse, with each side scratching the other’s back — thus putting to rest the age-old question, “Which came first, the . . . ?”
How solar PV could redraw the map for green energy and grid investment.
When Pacific Gas & Electric broke the news six weeks ago that it had signed a deal with Solaren Corp. to buy 200 MW of solar energy from satellites launched into geosynchronous orbit, the idea seemed almost laughable. Solaren’s plan is to catch unobstructed sunlight falling on arrays of photovoltaic solar panels deployed in the crystalline void of outer space, and then to convert the generated electricity into radio-frequency energy for transmission to Solaren’s ground-based receiving station outside Fresno. Welcome to the new renewable reality.
A new law dampens coal-by-wire prospects.
Gary L. Hunt and Richard Lauckhart
A 2007 law essentially prohibits California utilities from signing long-term contracts for power, including those from out of state, unless they emit less than 1,000 pounds of CO2/MWh of electricity produced. While the law does not specifically bar coal-fired generation, the limit is set low enough to rule out all coal-power plants. A modern, highly efficient natural gas-fired plant barely would qualify. These measures, plus the new carbon-cap law going into effect by 2012, have sent utilities—large and small, private as well as municipal or city-owned—into a frenzy as they scramble to find alternatives to coal to meet their future demand.
(March 2007) Constellation Energy named Kevin W. Hadlock vice president, investor relations, and Robert L. Gould vice president, corporate communications. Subsidiary Constellation NewEnergy appointed Emily Neill as business development manager. Dynegy Inc. announced several organizational changes related to the company’s proposed combination with LS Power. Robert W. Best, chairman, president, and CEO of Atmos Energy Corp., was elected chairman of the American Gas Foundation’s board of trustees for 2007. And others...
Investments in energy efficiency can be a growing revenue source. Strong programs, in conjunction with effective monitoring and verification, are the keys to success.
To turn efficiency investments into a growing revenue source, strong programs, in conjunction with effective monitoring and verification, are the keys to success.
Discordant global-warming solutions may end up burning utilities.
Richard Stavros, Executive Editor
How will utilities in the next 10 years manage a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure buildout, higher interest rates/cost of capital, diminishing free cash flows, state renewable mandates, and political pressures to keep rates or power prices low, all while complying with carbon emissions programs that emphasize higher-cost fuels? Meeting the challenges may depend on whether a national carbon program that regulates carbon emissions is established.
Kyoto countries miss their targets, but scientists say climate change was already unstoppable.
Richard Stavros, Executive Editor
Hollywood and the media are way ahead of the politicians when it comes to the greenhouse effect and global warming. But even as utilities try to be good corporate citizens and help devise a federal or national plan, the question remains as to whether the domestic economy can achieve even a modest reduction in CO2 releases—enough to put even a small dent in current predictions of global climate change.
The models and motives behind tomorrow’s transmission expansion.
Major transmission projects based on two distinct models are showing signs of life. What can these projects teach us about future transmission investment?
Don’t overlook high-quality, project-based emissions reductions.
By Mike Burnett and Bjorn Fischer
Mike Burnett is executive director of the Climate Trust. Bjorn Fischer is business development manager at the Climate Trust. Contact Fischer at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Climate Trust is a non-profit committed to providing high quality, project-based reductions and advancing the policies that support them. Its offices are located in Portland, Ore.